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12 Grad School Survival Tips
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h, graduate school. What a completely unique experience Ė or so they say. Because, the truth is, when youíre a grad student, nobody really gets you, right?

Wrong! Fastweb does! Not only do we know what youíre going through, but we want to help you get through it, too.

Itís pretty scary in graduate school, too. Itís basically, like, sink or swim without a fancy swim instructor looking out for you.

Just think of Fastweb as that life preserver waiting to save you when the going gets tough or when your arms give out. No, we canít do the work for you (sorry, we asked) but we can try to motivate you to keep sticking it out when times get tough.

No matter what year you are, utilize these tips to get through graduate school successfully Ė we know you can do it! Here are some tips that can help you survive graduate school, from start to finish.

1. Stick to a budget.

This tip is likely not all that difficult to follow if youíre a regular graduate student. But, when you do score some extra cash (for whatever reason) try your best to put it towards paying your bills, savings or paying off loans and interest.

Because, chances are, youíll want to have a splurge session and, quite honestly, we donít blame you. It really is in your best interest to pay off your debt!

2. Remember that youíre never alone.

Deciding to take on graduate school is a scary task but, remember, youíre not alone. Youíre not the only one who has decided to take on this lifestyle.

In fact, you may not be the only one questioning, ďWhy on earth did I decide to take on this lifestyle in the first place?Ē Heck, there could be support groups for students like you.

So, take solace in the fact that you, friend, are not alone!

3. Pay off interest when you can.

Youíll be in a much better spot with as little interest accumulated as possible. Itís difficult, but pay off as much interest as youíre able. Your future self will be eternally grateful.

4. Let yourself be a student.

Repeat: I am a grad student. I am learning. I will make mistakes. Seriously, donít be so hard on yourself. What youíre doing is seriously admirable and really difficult. The world really isnít going to come to an end if you make a mistake, we promise.

5. Utilize tax breaks.

As a graduate student, you qualify for unique tax breaks that you should utilize.

For example, the Lifetime Learning Tax Credit can allow students thousands in tax breaks annually!

6. Make the most of your resources.

There are a lot of resources provided to students like you. You just need to: 1. Find out what they are. 2. Utilize them.

Refer to your professors, go to their office hours and ask the right questions. When in doubt, refer to number eight on this list!

7. Apply for free money!

By this, we mean grants and scholarships! There are so many financial resources available to graduate students on sites like, ahem, Fastweb, so apply, apply, apply!

Remember, applying is pretty much a numbers game and the more you apply, the better your chances of winning are. Apply for all you qualify for to maximize your odds of winning.

8. Never forget you have an advisor.

Your advisor is there to help with any questions you may have regarding programs, research, faculty issues, etc.

Donít forget about this important person you should have on speed dial! If your advisor doesnít have an answer for you, he or she will be able to point you in the right direction of the contact who will.

Itís even advisable to set up a regular meeting with your advisor to check in and see how things are progressing for you. So many students neglect to do this.

Think about it this way, youíre paying for their services indirectly, so why not utilize them?

9. Select work youíre passionate about.

You canít devote hours on end to learning and working on something you canít stand. Itís as simple as that. Youíll grow tired of it and simply wonít put forth the endless effort that it takes to get through days and nights of studying and working towards a goal.

Bottom line: pick something you absolutely live and breathe so that you can live with your decision.

10. Take time to experience life, even if itís just for a moment.

Through your courses and your difficult curriculum, try to take time to experience life as well. Youíll see glimpses of life through meeting others, getting to know professors, chatting with baristas or petting someoneís puppy on the street.

These may seem like pretty lame experiences and, quite frankly, they are but theyíre little slices of life to help you get through even the darkest of days.

11. Always remember the light at the end of the tunnel.

Never forget that through all of your pain and hard work Ė there is an end to a means. Grad school doesnít last forever and, with every moment, youíre getting closer and closer to the light at the end of the tunnel!

12. Relax when youíre able.

Yes, we know Ė easier said than done. At the rare moments when you have a free moment, try your hardest to relax.

Take a deep breath, take a bath and do whatever you need to do to just, you heard us, relax!


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